BioWorld International Correspondent

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Continuing a run of good news for some of Belgium's biotechnology companies, Ablynx and ThromboGenics have both made optimistic announcements.

Ablynx of Ghent, revealed an intensification of its links with Boehringer Ingelheim, of Ingelheim, Germany. Under a new alliance, the two companies will discover, develop and commercialize up to 10 different therapeutics in immunology, oncology and respiratory medicine, based on Ablynx's Nanobody platform.

Boehringer Ingelheim is scheduled to pay €75 million (US$97.5 million) during the research term of the collaboration, which includes €15 million in a proposed equity investment in Ablynx. Ablynx also will receive up to €125 million in development milestone payments for Nanobodies developed, as well as undisclosed royalties.

Boehringer Ingelheim will be responsible exclusively for the development, manufacture and commercialization of any products resulting from the collaboration.

Ablynx will have certain co-promotion rights in Europe. Edwin Moses, Ablynx CEO, said it was the largest financial agreement the company had signed to develop its Nanobody therapeutics.

ThromboGenics, of Leuven, Belgium, disclosed the successful completion of a Phase I clinical trial of its long-acting anticoagulant TB-402, and the decision to advance into Phase II early in 2008.

Along with its co-development partner, BioInvent International, of Lund, Sweden, it announced completion of enrollment and initial follow-up of all volunteers in the first Phase I trial of the product, which is being developed for the prevention of venous thromboembolic disorders.

Fifty-six healthy male volunteers took part in the randomized, single-dose, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation trial, and preliminary results showed both the primary (safety and tolerability) and secondary (pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic) endpoints were met, and the drug was well tolerated.

Its prolonged half-life could allow for single-dose treatment in orthopedic surgery patients and once-a-month administration for long-term stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation, as opposed to daily treatment with current anticoagulants.

The findings confirmed that the drug only partially inhibits factor VIII activity, reducing the risk of undesirable bleeding and the need for monitoring.

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